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The Glenlivet


The distillery draws water from Josie’s Well and other springs a short distance from the distillery. The barley comes from Crisp Maltings, Portgordon. Lastly, Glenlivet’s stills are lantern shaped with long, narrow necks, all of which helps to produce a light tasting spirit.

The distillery has 4 wash stills each with a capacity of 15,000 litres each and 4 spirit stills with a capacity of 10,000 litres.

Spirit from the distillery is then matured in oak casks formerly used to mature bourbon (ex-bourbon), as is normal throughout the industry, with some products being finished in casks previously used to store sherry and port.

Glenlivet is categorised as a Speyside distillery. The Glenlivet range consists of 12 Years, 15 Years, 16 Years Nadurra, 18 Years, 21 years, and 25 years, with a number of limited edition whiskies such as the Cellar Collection.

Glenlivet also produces a range for the travel retail and duty-free shop markets, which differs slightly from the normal range.

The main product range from the distillery is The Glenlivet range of single malt scotch whisky, but whisky from the distillery is also used in the production of Pernod Ricard’s other brands, including Chivas Regal and Royal Salute whisky brands.

Bottling of The Glenlivet took place at a Chivas Brothers bottling plant at Newbridge just outside of Edinburgh, but that plant was sold at the end of 2009 with bottling to be transferred to other Chivas Brothers plants.

In 2008, The Glenlivet announced expansion plans for the distillery to keep up with increased demand.

This includes the installation of a new mash tun, new stills and new wash backs.

The Glenlivet 12yr single malt scotch received a silver medal at the 2009 San Francisco World Spirits Competition. The Glenlivet 15yr French Oak reserve single malt scotch received a gold medal at the 2009 San Francisco World Spirits Competition. The Glenlivet 16yr Nadurra single malt scotch received a silver medal at the 2009 San Francisco World Spirits Competition. The Glenlivet 18yr single malt scotch received a double-gold medal at the 2009 San Francisco World Spirits Competition. The Glenlivet 21yr single malt scotch received a gold medal at the 2009 San Francisco World Spirits Competition. The Glenlivet XXV (25yr) single malt scotch received a silver medal at the 2009 San Francisco World Spirits Competition.


Illicit distilleries were commonplace throughout the Speyside area from medieval times but were largely made redundant with the passing the Excise Act, in 1823. It was under this legislation that legal distilleries could be formed, subject to holding a license. Alexander Gordon, 4th Duke of Gordon, was allegedly instrumental in the passing of this legislation. Although there is no historical record of his involvement in the issue, his tenant, George Smith, who was operating an illicit distillery at the time, became the first person in Glenlivet to apply for and receive a license to legally produce spirit. This would prove to be an unpopular decision, every other distiller was operating illegally at the time and hoping the new Excise Act would be repealed, something which would not happen if some distillers accepted the new law. Threats were made against George Smith, so George Gordon provided Smith with two pistols to be used to ensure both his own safety and that of the distillery. In 1824, The Glenlivit distillery was established at Upper Drumin by George and his youngest son James Gordon Smith.

George Smith established a second distillery during 1849, named the Cairngorm-Delnabo Distillery but by 1855 or 1856, both distilleries were running at full capacity, and were unable to meet rising demand. The operation of two separate sites was also proving difficult and expensive, so plans were formed around the same time to build a new, larger distillery further down the hill at Minmore. Construction of this new distillery was underway when the old Upper Drumin distillery was destroyed by fire during 1858. Construction of the new Minmore distillery was sped up and salvageable equipment from the Upper Drumin distillery was transferred to the new Mimmore distillery. The Delnabo distillery was closed at the same time and the best parts of the equipment were also transferred to the Minmore plant. Production commenced at the new plant during 1859 and it was around the same time the legal entity of George & J.G. Smith, Ltd. was formed.

George Smith died in 1871 and his son James Gordon Smith inherited the distillery. The quality of the product from their distillery had resulted in the other distilleries in the area renaming their products to “Glenlivet” and by the time of George’s death, several distillers were doing so. J.G. Smith decided to take legal action and tried to claim ownership on The Glenlivet name, this legal action was only partially successful – the verdict forced other distillers in the area to stop calling their whisky Glenlivet and gave J.G. Smith and the blender Andrew Usher sole permission to use the brand, but permitted other distilleries to hyphenate their distillery name with the “Glenlivet” name, which resulted in new distillery names such as the The Glen Moray-Glenlivet Distillery, a distillery which is situated nearby.

The distillery remained open throughout the Great Depression, an event which affected many other distilleries; it wasn’t until the Second World War that the distillery was mothballed for the first time, by Government decree. In the aftermath of World War Two, Britain was heavily indebted and needed to export large quantities of goods to earn foreign revenue (mainly United States dollars). Distilling was an ideal industry with whisky much in demand overseas. Distilling restrictions were rapidly lifted and output from the distillery was at pre-war levels by 1947, despite ongoing barley, fuel and manpower limitations. Bread rationing was retained until 1948 in order to ensure supplies of grain for the distilleries.

Glenlivet Distillery (George & J.G. Smith, Ltd.) merged with the Glen Grant Distillery (J. & J. Grant Glen Grant, Ltd.) in 1953 to form the The Glenlivet and Glen Grant Distillers, Ltd.. The company would go on to merge with Hill Thomson & Co., Ltd. and Longmorn-Glenlivet Distilleries, Ltd. in 1970 before changing their name to Glenlivet Distillers Ltd in 1972. The company was then purchased by Canadian drinks and media company Seagram in 1977. Seagram’s alcohol production interests were acquired by Pernod Ricard and Diageo during 2000, with ownership of Glenlivet Distillers passing to Pernod Ricard. Glen Grant Distillery was sold to Campari Group in 2005.

The Glenlivet is the best selling malt whisky in the United States, and the fourth best selling in the UK with a 7% market share. The Glenivet is the world’s second best selling single malt whisky, and current global sales total 6 million bottles per annum.


Core Range

The Glenlivet 12 Year Old

The Glenlivet 15 Year Old French Oak Reserve

The Glenlivet Nadurra 16 Year Old

The Glenlivet 18 Year Old

The Glenlivet Archive 21 Year Old

The Glenlivet XXV 25 Year Old

Limited Releases – Cellar Collection

The Glenlivet Cellar Collection 1972 Cask Strength

The Glenlivet Cellar Collection 1959 Cask Strength

The Glenlivet Cellar Collection 1964 Cask Strength

The Glenlivet Cellar Collection 1967

The Glenlivet Cellar Collection French Oak Finish 1983

The Glenlivet Cellar Collection American Oak Finish 30 Year Old

Travel Retail

These bottlings are only available through the travel retail market, such as airports and ferries.

The Glenlivet 12 Year Old First Fill

The Glenlivet 15 Year Old

See also

List of whisky brands

List of distilleries in Scotland


^ a b c d e f g h i Pacult, F. Paul (2005). A Double Scotch: How Chivas Regal and The Glenlivet Became Global Icons. Hoboken, New Jersey: John Wiley and Sons. pp. 120121. ISBN 978-0471720058. 

^ a b c d “The Glenlivet Single Malt Scotch Whisky”. Glenlivet. whisky/brands/glenlivet_brand.html. Retrieved 2007-10-01. 

^ a b “Diageo plc and Pernod Ricard SA to acquire Seagram spirits and wine business”. Diageo. 2000-12-20. diageo/en-row/NewsAndMedia/PressReleases/2000/Diageo+plc+and+Pernod+Ricard+SA+to+acquire+Seagram+spirits+and+wine+business.htm. Retrieved 2007-10-01. 

^ “Glenlivet Distillery”. scotchwhisky. scotchwhisky/distilleries/glenlivet.htm. Retrieved 2008-01-29. 

^ a b Milroy, Wallace. The Original Malt Whisky Almanac – A Taster’s Guide. Glasgow, Scotland: Neil Wilson Publishing. pp. 45. ISBN 978-1897784686. 

^ a b “Glenlivet Distillery”. The Whisky Guide. thewhiskyguide/Speyside/Glenlivet.html. Retrieved 2007-10-01. 

^ a b “The Glenlivet – Product Range”. Glenlivet. theglenlivet/theglenlivet.php. Retrieved 2007-10-01. 

^ Black, David (2005-02-18). “Chivas Brothers launches new malts in major Glenlivet drive”. The Scotsman. news.scotsman/topics.cfm?tid=984&id=184682005. Retrieved 2007-10-01. 

^ a b c “Glenlivet Distillery: Speyside distillery”. Scotland: Whisky and Distilleries. whisky-distilleries/Glenlivet_EN.shtml. Retrieved 2007-10-01. 

^ “80 jobs to go as Chivas Bros reveals Newbridge bottling plant sale”. living.scotsman/scotsman-whisky/ Retrieved 2010-01-03. 

^ just-drinks/article.aspx?id=93133

^ “Taxing The Spirit: 1220 to Today”. Bruichladdich. bruichladdich/taxing_the_spirit_1220_-_today.htm. Retrieved 2007-10-01. 

^ a b c d e Morrice, Philip. The Schweppes Guide To Scotch. Sherborne, Dorest, England: Alphabooks. pp. 340342. ISBN 0 906670 99 2. 

^ “History in the baking”. British Baker. William Reed Publishing Ltd. 2006-09-12. bakeryinfo/news/categoryfront.php/id/19/BAKING_HISTORY.html. Retrieved 2007-10-01. 

^ “Italy’s Campari seals whisky deal”. BBC News Online (BBC). 2005-12-23. Retrieved 2007-10-01. 

External links

Official website

Details on how to visit Glenlivet distillery

v d e

Whisky distilleries in Scotland


Ardbeg  Bowmore  Bruichladdich  Bunnahabhain  Caol Ila  Kilchoman  Lagavulin  Laphroaig  Port Charlotte


Aberfeldy  Ardmore  Auchroisk  Balblair  Ben Nevis  Blair Athol  Clynelish  Dalmore  Dalwhinnie  Deanston  Edradour  Fettercairn  Glencadam  Glen Garioch  Glengoyne  Glenmorangie  Glen Ord  Glenturret  Loch Lomond  Lochnagar  Oban  Old Pulteney  Teaninich  Tullibardine


Aberlour  Allt–Bhainne  Aultmore  Balmenach  Balvenie  Benriach  Benrinnes  Benromach  Brackla  Cardhu  Cragganmore  Craigellachie  Dailuaine  Drumguish  Dufftown  Glenallachie  Glenburgie  Glendronach  Glendullan  Glen Elgin  Glen Grant  Glenfarclas  Glenfiddich  Glenglassaugh  Glen Keith  The Glenlivet  Glenlossie  Glen Moray  Glenrothes  Glen Spey  Glentauchers  Inchgower  Kininvie  Knockando  Knockdhu  Linkwood  Longmorn  The Macallan  Macduff  Mannochmore  Miltonduff  Mortlach  Speyburn  The Speyside  Strathisla  Strathmill  Tamdhu  Tamnavulin  Tomatin  Tomintoul  Tormore


Arran  Barra  Blackwood  Highland Park  Isle of Jura  Scapa  Talisker  Tobermory


Auchentoshan  Bladnoch  Glenkinchie


Glen Scotia  Glengyle  Springbank


Banff  Ben Wyvis  Braeval  Brora  Caperdonich  Coleburn  Convalmore  Dallas Dhu  Finnieston  Glen Albyn  Glencraig  Glenesk  Glenflagler  Glenlochy  Glen Mhor  Glenugie  Glenury  Hazelburn  Inverleven  Imperial  Killyloch  Kinclaith  Ladyburn  Littlemill  Lochindall  Lochside  Millburn  North Port  Parkmore  Pittyvaich  Port Ellen  Rosebank  St. Magdalene

Coordinates: 572051.72 32011.58 / 57.3477N 3.33655W / 57.3477; -3.33655

Categories: Scottish malt whisky | 1824 establishments | Pernod Ricard brands

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